It always sucks having to start training camp with a top draft pick injured and unable to participate. Unfortunately that’s how camp started for 2nd round pick P.J. Hall who was forced to the sidelines while dealing with a pectoral strain.
Head coach Jon Gruden is a man known to be unforgiving when it comes to injuries. The man once even criticized his QB in Tampa Bay, Chris Simms, for missing significant time when his spleen ruptured on field. If he didn’t go easy on Simms when he literally almost died, you can imagine how he feels about P.J. Hall missing time with a pec strain.
In true Gruden fashion, he nonchalantly mentioned Hall and fellow missing in action DT Eddie Vanderdoes in his press conference when talking about Justin Ellis. He made it clear that the allotted time for their injuries had ended and that he hoped they’d return to the field.
”We have two guys in the bullpen I’m anxious to see P.J. Hall and [Eddie] Vanderdoes.” Gruden said at his press conference. “I hope we get them back out on Wednesday or Thursday. It’s about time.”
One of those two guys heard the call to action because P.J. Hall is now back on the field at today’s practice. Hall will be competing for playing time on the suddenly deep defensive line for Oakland with Justin Ellis, Eddie Vanderdoes, Mario Edwards, Jr, Tank Carradine, Frostee Rucker, Treyvon Hester and fellow rookie Maurice Hurst.
Just looking at that list makes you realize how deep the position is for the Raiders and how important it is for P.J. Hall to get as many reps as possible to fit into the rotation. With Gruden’s harsh stance against missing time it would have made the competition even harder for Hall if he continued to be on the sidelines.
A lot is going to be expected of Hall after the Raiders used a 2nd round pick on him in the 2018 draft so it’s great to see him return to action. Now we’ll get to see what the kid can do out there in pads for some real football.